The House Agriculture Committee released House Bill 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, on Thursday, April 12, and Congressman James Comer, who represents Kentucky’s 1st District, is happy with what he and his fellow committee members have put together for Kentucky’s and the nation’s farmers. We spoke with Comer the day prior to its release to get his perspective on the committee’s product.
“We received a lot of input from farmers, private companies, and farm groups on what they would like to see included, and I believe this is a good product to release. Corn growers will be very satisfied with it.”
According to Comer, the new legislation is very similar to the last Farm Bill.
“We know that crop insurance is the most important piece, and that program will stay intact,” he said. “Voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs will continue, but there will be different spending levels than in the past.”
The committee is scheduled to begin debate on the bill the morning of April 18.
Comer said he feels the new bill will pass out of the House Agriculture Committee with no problems but will face opposition from both sides once it reaches the House floor.
“Conservatives may look at this and think we are spending too much money on crop insurance,” said Comer. “We are protecting against natural disasters, pests, and disease, but we are also insuring against price, and conservatives will vote against that.
“Liberals won’t like the food portion of the farm bill. There is a work requirement for able-bodied people without independents to receive food assistance, and some believe that is cruel.”
In fact, according to the DC staffers news source Roll Call, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi penned a letter to her Democratic colleagues after the two-week spring recess urging them to oppose the Farm Bill due to language requiring a work requirement to receive food assistance.
“Once the bill passes out of committee, I will sit down with my colleagues and explain what the farm bill does and why we need it.”
The House Agriculture Committee has been working on the 2018 Farm Bill since 2015, holding 113 hearings, 16 business meetings, and five executive briefings. More than 1100 have attended listening sessions.
Comer expressed his frustration with how slowly legislation moves within the Beltway, but he acknowledged that the Farm Bill needs to be passed soon. The current farm bill expires September 30.
We appreciate Comer’s time and dedication on this important issue for Kentucky’s farmers.
For the latest farm bill news, visit https://agriculture.house.gov/farmbill/.